God’s Process

November 30, 2017

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father

of lights, with whom is no variation nor shadow of turning.

 

God’s Process

 

In the light of day there is no darkness, but shadows still move away from the direction of the light much the way our hidden sins move away from the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  It is when we come into the noon day of His presence that there is no shadow of turning and there all things are exposed to the light.  When the light of God is put directly over every area of our life then whatever shadows were there fall beneath you and are no longer projected from you.

A fire will seek to consume everything combustible and the hotter the fire the more completely combustibles are burned.  All that is considered of the sinful nature is combustible and subject to the fire.  When we pass through the baptism of the fire of Christ’s love He is not rejecting you, but accepting you and promoting you.  What His love is burning up may be very grievous to our flesh, but it is purifying us from all the flesh and defilement that has held us back from a deeper walk in His presence.  When we don’t understand the process we can become angry, disappointed and offended with God.  We don’t fully understand the principle and concept that before a seed can bring forth much fruit it first must fall into the ground and die outwardly so that the life within it can spring forth and bring forth much fruit.  If we want to be fruitful there is a process.

It wasn’t in the natural desire of Jesus to suffer what He had to suffer and die like He had to die.  He prayed and asked the Father, ‘If there is any way let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.’  When we make our commitment to fully give our lives to Christ, we probably don’t really grasp what that might entail.  Father is gracious, He doesn’t confront us with everything at once, but He begins to take us through the process of refinement.  He begins to expose those shadow areas in our lives and desires to bring the light of His purification to illuminate them, dispel them and consume them.  In a lot of this process we have our will to submit or withdrawal from this process.  In others we go through experiences that are beyond our control and often through those difficult times we may find God in a greater dimension than what we had previously known Him.  Sometimes in the things that we must pass through, they are not just for us, but they are to train us up and make us forerunners for those who must pass through similar circumstances.  We then have the experience and the grace of God to speak into their lives from a heart of empathy and understanding just as Jesus was tempted in all areas just as we are.

There are many different types of terrain that we pass over as we journey with Jesus.  The truth we must always keep close is that we don’t journey it alone.  Even though all others would forsake us, Father never will.  In Hebrews 13:5 we are given this exhortation, ” Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”

7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Jesus has never changed His mind toward you.  His love for you has never wavered.  His faithfulness is always the same and steadfast.

Father is taking us through the process of purification.  It is not by our works or efforts, but more by our submission and obedience to Him.  We co-labor in the process of purification that is taking place within us.  Romans 8:12-17 shares with us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  The power of overcoming is by our partnering with the Spirit of God within us, to put to death the misdeeds of the body.  It is not by just our strength, but neither is it by our passivity.  We are in the midst of a commitment to Him to allow the DNA of His Spirit to transform us from what has been put to death into what is of His life and godliness.  Thereby we are called the Sons of God if we are led by the Spirit of God.  You also notice that it is in sharing the suffering of Christ that we also share His glory.

At every juncture, at every turn, at every circumstance and in every encounter may we have the heart to say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, have your way, whatever that entails and whatever that takes me through.  I just want to be conformed to You.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

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All the Promise are Yes and Amen

 

2 Corinthians 1:18-20

As surely as God is trustworthy and faithful and means what He says, our speech and message to you have not been Yes [that might mean] No.

19For the Son of God, Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who has been preached among you by us, by myself, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is [always the divine] Yes.

20For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God. (Amplified)

 

God’s Book is a book of promises.  It is upon those promises that our faith has been placed and each day is a day of trust and obedience to the promises of God.  Just as God spoke the universe into existence and the Word that He spoke was Christ, so Christ brought into being that spoken Word of God, for He was that Word.  He was the fulfillment and the carrying out of the Father’s mind and heart.  Even today, all that God has spoken through the mouths of His servants, prophets and apostles are brought to pass in Christ.  God has a time and a plan, but all that He has spoken will come to pass, because in Him there is not a “maybe”, but a definitive “yes”.  With God it is impossible that He should lie for in Him there is no darkness or shadow of turning. ‘He is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent.’

Hebrews 6:13-20 tells us, “13For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you. 15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us].

19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek” (Amplified)

We have such an assurance that our faith is not just a maybe, but it is the real thing and we have God’s Word on it.  Because we know these promises of God are not just a maybe, but are sure, we press into what 1 Peter 1:3-9 says.  “3For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). 4By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. 5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),

6And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),

7And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. 8For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

9For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (Amplified)

The promises of God, and our faith in appropriating them, is the key to our coming into His divine nature.  The promises are given so that we may have a sure hope in that which He has called us too.  It is not in us; it is in living by faith through the Christ in us, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Time and Clutter

November 28, 2017

 

Time and Clutter

Ecclesiastes 8:5-7

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man [is] great upon him

 

 

Are you ever overwhelmed in life by all of the clutter that fills your life and the lack of time to deal with it all?  I find that trying to stay neat and organized seems to be an exercise in futility.  Our lives are so inundated with mail, junk mail, phone calls, solicitors, bills, materials from work, school, church, kids, and internet.  Then there are always all of the projects we have to do or someone else wants us to do.  In the midst of this deluge of information, materials and pulling from every direction to make this decision and meet that need we can become overwhelmed and overloaded.  There doesn’t seem to be enough time to deal with it all and even if there is, after while we just want to run away and escape all of its demands.  As I look at my desk and the condition of my home and garage I think too much stuff is not a good thing.  Who can keep up with it all?  Obviously some of us are more gifted in that area than others.  While it seems it is hard for many of us to finish one thing before we are distracted and on to something else, thus leaving in our wake a barrage of unfinished business, this is the real world.  It is filled with clutter that demands our time and energy to deal with it.  What’s worse is when you don’t want to throw it away or get rid of it because you might need it someday.  “My God, My God, who shall deliver me?”

This is for me this morning, so you are welcome to listen in, or not.

Our time has to be more and more ordered by priorities.  Most important things first.  This brings us to the spiritual aspect of our lives, which we should have rated number one on our list.   Don’t you find that without God first, the rest of life begins to fall apart?  He is the order in our lives and helps us with focusing on our priorities.  Sometimes it demands getting up earlier in the morning or staying up later at night just to have that time with Him.  Our families should be our next priority.  How often do we neglect our wife or husband, children or grandchildren because they’ll understand if we have work demands, or are wading through all of the clutter that takes all of our time and attention away from them?

What about meeting the needs of others?  “The needs of others, I hardly have time for my own needs.”  Isn’t this part of our life mission, to reach out to others and meet those needs where we can?  We haven’t even talked about work, which usually consumes a major portion of our time and life.   It is a constant juggling act to balance all of the areas of our lives.  Yet, I have to believe that God is our wisdom to walk in this world and deal with all of the issues that we are faced with.  Truthfully, we bring a lot of it on ourselves.  Our possessions bring with them the bondage of time and money to take care of and deal with them.   Simplicity, in as much as it is attainable, is an asset we need to cherish.

In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us some wise counsel we need to continually apply to our lives.  In verses 19-21 he says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Doesn’t this deal with our priorities and the things we value in life?  It is so easy for our focus in life to get on the wrong things.  We are not here to gain the world for ourselves, but to gain the world for Christ.  In verses 24-26 and verse 33 Jesus says, ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  …But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Time and clutter must find their order in the One we serve.  The Lord and people must be the focus of what we live and work for, not things.  The Holy Spirit is the filter through which all things must pass and judgements must be made on their significance or value.  How much clutter do we bring on ourselves that hinders us from the more vital things in our lives?  Let us order and organize our lives for the advancement of His Kingdom and not ours.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

Repeating Offenses and Failures

 

Romans 7:17-24

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.   Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. or I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

 

I don’t know that there are any of us that don’t struggle in our lives with our character flaws and weaknesses that seem to want to continue surfacing and have long been a source of consternation and dismay to us.  We don’t like these flaws, habits, strongholds, weaknesses and shortcomings; we hate them.  We know they don’t please God and yet we find ourselves again and again falling back into these snares.  We may even wonder if we could still be saved, as many times as we have failed, repented and then failed again.  This is where the rubber meets the road for many of us in our spiritual walk.  The latter part of Romans 7 deals, I believe, with this very issue.  It really boils down to a warring issue within our lives.  There are two laws that war in our members and while we serve the law of God in our mind, we find the law of sin, still wanting and seeking place in our bodies.  As we seek to ascend in our minds and spirits we have the flesh seeking to pull us back down, bringing condemnation and once again breaking and interrupting our spiritual fellowship with the Lord.  We, like Paul, cry out, ” O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he goes on to answer his own question, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  What is he saying, that we can be divided and our mind serves God and our flesh serves sin?  No, he is saying that which ever one we give place too, that is the one we will serve.  Romans 8 really goes on to give the extension to the answer of our dilemma that he has addressed in Chapter 7.  Romans 8:1-2, ” [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  It is in grasping and laying hold of the higher law that now governs our lives that we begin to walk and live in a new mindset.  It is the mindset that is identified, not with our old man governed by the law of sin, but our new man which is governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  One of the greatest reasons for our prayer life and spending time in the Word is so that we can renew our minds in who we are in Christ.  We are no longer that old person, enslaved under the law of sin, subject to its bondage.  We have been set free; the Lord has broken those shackles off of us.  Does that mean that we will never be tempted or influenced by the former things?  Not at all, we know that the flesh, and that former mindset that wants to regain its strongholds in our lives, constantly assault us.  Our freedom is in Christ and in our walk in the Spirit.  Romans 8:5-10, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” If we are the ones still trying to conquer our weaknesses in our own strength then we are doomed for the failure we’ve experienced in the past.  It is the Spirit working in concert with our will and submission to Him that is our empowerment.  Romans 8:13, ” For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  Our lives in the Spirit are a continual overcoming of our flesh and the law of sin that wars against our members.  Are we going to loose some battles, yes, we still fall short far too often, but we have set our course.  Our eyes are fixed upon our Savior and “it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20).”  That old man was crucified with Christ on the cross, but daily we become a living sacrifice consecrated unto Him.  He is our victory and in Him we are more than conquerors.  Don’t be discouraged, for His blood washes and forgives our failures as we repent and turn back to Him.  The more Christ fills our hearts and minds the less room and place there is for sin as the Holy Spirit is given full place to govern over our souls.  Press on, identified with who you are in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is empowering us to be the sons of God He has called us to be.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread

 

Exodus 16:15-20

And when the children of Israel saw [it], they said one to another, It [is] manna: for they wist not what it [was]. And Moses said unto them, This [is] the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This [is] the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, [according to] the number of your persons; take ye every man for [them] which [are] in his tents And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less And when they did mete [it] with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

 

 

The manna that God supplied in the wilderness for Moses and the children of God was for a time when, had He not supplied, they would have died.  But it teaches some spiritual principles of dependence upon God.  Let’s look at few other examples as well.  In Matthew 6:9-11 Jesus is giving the example of how to pray and He starts out, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.”

Let’s look at one more passage of scripture in Luke 12:16-23, “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body [is more] than raiment.”

Here are three different passages that are pointing us to trust One source for our daily needs.  We have said before that we live in a materialistic society where success is often measured in dollars and cents.  This isn’t our measuring stick in the kingdom of God.   Our measure is our dependence and trust in our God.  That by no means is suggesting that we go sit in the corner till God rains down manna from heaven on us.  Even the children of Israel had to go out and gather it.  What the Lord is saying is that life isn’t all about finances, success, riches and money in the bank.  We are kingdom people that need a kingdom mentality.  Jesus is telling us in His parable in Luke 12 not to place your trust and confidence in the uncertainty of earthly riches because they could be here today and gone tomorrow and so could you.  It is not a bad thing to have financial riches and blessings, but it is not where our heart is to be.  Our hearts we want to be rich toward God and always looking to Him and not our bank account for security.  If we are truly seeking first the kingdom of God, then Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of.  Philippians 4:6 exhorts us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  No worries mate, God is at the wheel.  Quit trying to tell God how to drive and sit back and enjoy the ride.  Let Him take us where He wants us to go.  If God is financially blessing your life that is wonderful and use that blessing to be a blessing, giving God the glory.  Maybe we are not experiencing great abundance financially, but God is rich to us in other ways.  Praise God, let’s use whatever He is blessing us with to glorify Him.  Our treasure is in heaven; it is not on earth.  There aren’t any ATM machines in heaven where you make withdrawals from your earthly bank.  Let’s be rich toward God, because there is no way that we can out give Him.  In Luke 12:31 Jesus says, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Today’s ministries focus a lot on prosperity and being blessed financially.  I am as willing to receive all that God has for me in that area as the next person, but I don’t want it to be my focus.  When it becomes my focus then my eyes get off of the Lord and on to material and corruptible things.  That is when I get out of the will of God.  As I have started a business and experience the financial challenges involved with that, it is often difficult not to get anxious about all the expenses involved with it.  If it is God’s business then it is God’s worry not mine.  He says I am just to lift up my needs with thanksgiving, knowing He is faithful.  It is the exaltation of all that He is that builds faith in my heart and calms the fears of doubt and unbelief.  He may bring an end to something, so that He may bring us to a new beginning in something else of His choosing.  As long as He is in control, it is all right.

The Lord will provide our daily bread, His kingdom will come and His will, will be done in this earth and in our lives, as we fix our eyes upon Him.  Let our thanksgiving, praise, worship and the confession of our mouths; reflect the faith and confidence that is in our hearts.  “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Temptation

November 21, 2017

 

Temptation

Matthew 4:1

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

 

Temptation is an issue that we all deal with on a continual basis.  We are all tempted to go against God’s Word and principles.  It is with this issue that we spend a good deal of time, energy and prayer to overcome, especially if those temptations are ones that we tend to yield too on a far too frequent basis.  We should all know that the temptation itself is not sin, but it is what we do with it that allows it to become sin or not.  There are two primary sources of temptation. The first we see in the scripture above where we are tempted of the devil.  We see, often not soon enough, how with subtlety he works his way into our mind to draw us into disobedience to God.  Sometimes it is through another person that has also yielded their members to the tempter.

The second source of temptation is the lust, craving and desires of our own hearts and minds.  James 4:1 says, ” From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members.” Are we not in a constant battle to bring this body and its related attitudes, feelings, and desires under subjection and obedience to the lordship of Christ?  This is our constant dealing with temptation.   Roman 7:22-25 and the passage prior to it discusses the battle we struggle within our bodies against sin:  “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.   O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”   Haven’t we all cried out, on probably more than one occasion, “O wretched man that I am? Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”  Many of us hate the sin that is in us.  And all of us have areas of weakness in us that are more prone to yielding to temptation than others.  But, then Paul in the next sentence declares the answer to our cry; “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Notice he doesn’t say, praise God, I’ll try harder next time.  If you could overcome that sin and temptation, wouldn’t you have already done it?  One of our biggest sources of failure is reliance upon our own strength to fix the problem.  The fix is in Christ not in us.  But you say “I prayed and it didn’t help.”

Some of us have become so guilt ridden and condemned by our sin that we have given up and said “it is no use, I can’t change and God can’t possibly love me like this.”  GOD DOES STILL LOVE YOU AND HE HASN’T GIVEN UP ON YOU!  This is why you need a savior, because you are unable of yourself to change yourself.  The change and deliverance we seek comes from us working in concert and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

In Romans 8 Paul starts out by saying, “There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.  Our faith in Christ has brought us into Him.  In Christ is where we now reside and live out our lives by the Spirit, not in the flesh.  Does that mean it’s okay to sin since there is no more condemnation.  No, it is telling us that our mind and heart are no longer set on the former attitudes and desires for sin.  We are “in Christ”, so our heart is to please Him.  It is not “I’ve got to do this and this and not do that.”  It is by setting my eyes and my heart on Christ.  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.  Paul says there are two spiritual laws at work here.  “For the law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the law of sin and death.” We who are in Christ now live by a higher law, “the law of the Spirit of Life.”   In this law it is not in our self-efforts we overcome temptation, it as we walk in the Spirit (the higher law) that we put to death the deeds of the flesh.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  Overcoming the flesh is then turning inward to the Spirit of God, into Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to have His expression through us as He becomes everything to us.  We are exchanging our old nature for His divine nature.  We are transformed as we renew our minds to line up with the Word of God in our thinking and walk in the revelation of who we are in Christ.  If the monster of temptation is not fed he starves and withers away.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Straight as an Arrow

November 20, 2017

Straight as an Arrow

 

Philippians 3:12-16

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

 

An arrow released without a target is a wasted arrow.  Before you came to know Christ and God’s plan for salvation did you ever wonder about the meaning of life, its purpose and what part you played in it?  You would find short times of pleasure and fun only to be left with emptiness and disillusionment when it had passed?  Something was missing and then you came to know about God and His plan for your life, you realized you did have a purpose and that you were created for God’s glory.  You came to realize that there was more to life than just a temporal existence and then death.  You came to realize that you were an eternal spirit in a temporal body and that the body would soon pass away, but the purpose and direction of the spirit was determined by the decisions, choices and the way you lived in your mortal body.  You presently exist on earth, not the perfection of heaven or the torment of hell, but somewhere in between where aspects of both exist.  We come also to realize that this is the training ground, the place where we develop in spiritual character and maturity.  God has presented the life of Christ before us as a prototype and pattern of what He wants to bring forth in us as we walk in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit that He has placed within our hearts.

Still, for many of us, I think we wonder at what our true purpose and service is to God.  We know we live now for His purpose and not ours, but being caught up in the daily routine of life it is hard for us to sometimes find our meaning spiritually.   Somehow we think if we were only a missionary or a pastor or an evangelist or a teacher or someone spiritually significant we would really have purpose and be a person of God.  Remember Jesus started out having His expression of God in being a carpenter.  He was the eldest son, whose father had died leaving behind a widow, brothers and sisters.  Whose responsibility do you suppose it was to provide for that family after Joseph was gone?  It is not something you read much about, but Jesus also found himself caught up in the routine of everyday work and providing a living for His family.  Perhaps it was not the most dynamic time of His spiritual life, but it was never the less a real and necessary element of His spiritual development and expression as a human being that experienced what we experience.

There is a time and a season for all things in life.  The important thing is not where we are in our season of life, but that we are headed and flying toward our target.   Life is a process of development and preparation.  Jesus only spent three years fulfilling what had taken Him thirty years to prepare for.  If our eyes are on the prize, if we have set our mark for the high calling that is in Christ Jesus then we don’t dwell on past failures or successes.  We continually run the race before us, with each day being a new opportunity to grow more in faith and in love with Him.  We are arrows released from the bow of God’s grace to find our target in the center of His will and purpose.  We are continually pressing in to know what the fullness of that is.  His life in us should find

expression in and through us each day as we purpose to live for Him no matter our station in life.  Each day should conform us more into the image and expression of the Son.   If we are faithful in the little things, the day to day walk of faithfulness to Him, He will bring us into the fullness of His plan for our lives, whatever that is.  Just be the arrow that stays true to the course and the target of its flight.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

Shallow is the Grave, Deep is the Well

 

John 4:6-10

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

 

The word today is from the account of the woman at the well which many of you are familiar with, but if not take a few minutes to read it.  There are many wonderful truths in this short encounter.  The truth I feel impressed of the Lord to bring out today concerns areas that He is dealing with in my life and no doubt areas He wants to deal with in yours.  In the natural scheme of the life of that day, this encounter with Jesus should have never happened.  In the eyes of society and especially the typical Jewish outlook, this woman was way beneath good Jewish men, being considered little more than a dog.  You know, in our state of sin we are much on that same level in regards to God and His holiness and greatness.  Yet, God’s incomprehensible love humbles itself to come down to where we are in the messiness of our lives, in the squalor of our filth and sin and minister’s life to us.  All of our lives we have come to the well and drank the waters of self-efforts, our goodness and the accomplishments our own lives.  The very best of what it could do or offer always left us thirsting again.  Now, here is a man that is offering us living water that we would never thirst again.  Wouldn’t that be great to never have to rely on my self-efforts and goodness to satisfy that thirsting of my soul?  Here is a man that is offering to allow me to drink from the deep wells of salvation.  It is so much more than the well of my religion that my forefathers dug.  It is a well of deep relationship that forever satisfies.

As that woman, I would think, “this is wonderful, but who is this guy?  Are you greater than what we have had before?  Are you greater than our doctrine or religion or the belief system I have grown up with all my life?  And where do you get this water seeing you have nothing to draw it with (no degree, pedigrees or theological background)? ”

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).”

“Okay Lord, I’m convinced.  Yes, give me this living water.   This has got to be so much easier and better than the old routine of drawing from the well that I am used too.”

Then Jesus says something that catches her off guard and goes to a place she doesn’t really want to go.  He tells her to go and get her husband and come here.  She says, “Well, I’m not married.”  Jesus sees right into her heart and says, ” You are right, you’re not married.  You have had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband.”  Immediately, though, no doubt taken back by His insight, she says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet,” and begins to engage in a religious discussion about where the true place of worship is.    When the Holy Spirit addresses the other husbands in our lives, our personal sins and idols.  We get pretty squeamish, defensive and want to get out of the light of His conviction by changing the subject.

There is an underlying truth here.  Jesus wants to give us the living water, but He also wants to deal with these other husbands who haven’t even been true husbands at all.  When we drink of this living water we enter into a relationship where Christ becomes our true husband that is our eternal supply, which is able to meet every need.  In order for us to drink the fullness of the deep wells of salvation we have to deal with these other husbands in our life.   If we have other husbands in our life we are in adultery and idolatry, because they will be taking the place of our true husband, Christ.  The only way for us to be in right relationship with our true husband is for these others to die and be buried.

Easily said, not always easily done.  These other husbands can represent strongholds, drives, habits, addictions and affections in our lives we don’t really want to let go of.  We still have a love or at least a lust for them.  We would rather the Lord not go there, but in order for us to experience the depths of the well of salvation and living water we must experience the death and the shallow grave of our idols and the husbands of affections that have ruled over us.   So it comes down to a choice, to exchange, a shallow grave for a deep well or keep a shallow well, wherein we continue to thirst and a deep grave if we continue to hold on to the things that only bring death and destruction.  Either way, there has to be a death, death to the spiritual to maintain the natural or death to the natural to experience the depths of the spiritual.  In what areas do you have other husbands or lovers?  Which well and which grave will you choose?

 

blessings,

#kent

Matthew 14:32-33

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

“Truly You are the Son of God”

Our scripture today is taken as an excerpt out of the account of Peter asking to walk on the water when they are out in the boat and Jesus comes to them in the storm.  Peter has just attempted to come to Jesus, but then the fear of his surroundings robbed his faith and he began to sink.  Jesus catches and lifts him up, correcting him because his big faith quickly became little.  They climb into the boat and the wind dies down.  Suddenly the intensity of the revelation that this is the Christ comes upon them and they worship him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

There are so many times we are like Peter in that we are built up in our faith.  We believe and have confidence, but then when we take that bold step to come to Him in that faith, all of hell seems to rage against us.  This is a time when peripheral vision isn’t good, because in these times we can only be looking upon Jesus.  In our distraction, fear, doubt and unbelief are trying desperately through our circumstances to capture our heart.  If they can get a hold on us, they can pull us out of the supernatural back into the realm of the natural.  John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

We have all heard the expression, “comfortable in our own skin.”  For those of us who are in Christ, this is not where we want to be.  We must become comfortable in His skin and He must be comfortable in ours, because our identity is not in us, it is in Him.  Isn’t it amazing to get the revelation that the Lord of the universe is under your skin?  When we catch the revelation of who He really is in us what can we do but worship Him? As we begin to get our eyes off of our natural man and see our identity in Him we will see the authority that is at work within us.  When we see that moving and working through us, we will be like the disciples saying, “Truly this is the Son of God.”  We know it didn’t come out of who we were; it will come out of who we are in Him.  1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  Then John goes on in verses 17-18 to say, “ In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  We are standing in the day of judgement, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of confidence in His love.  As love dispels all fear it generates great faith.  As we walk in the power of His love, His life becomes evident in us.  Heaven and earth will bow before the authority that is operating in that life and that love. 

We are not unlike Peter, fledgling baby birds trying to find our wings underneath us.  Our destiny is not to remain in the nest of earthly contentment and gain, but to fly in the heavenlies and know the wind of God’s Spirit beneath us, lifting us up into His glory and likeness. 

Friends these are exciting days.  They are not days to be feared for the people that know their God and who they are in Him, but our faith is being continually stretched as we are forced to step into the places where we have never had to tread before.  This is a new day, new experiences and day when we must have great faith operating out of love.  Know that the Son of God has come to us in the storm.  He ultimately stills the winds around us. 

Let us truly worship You Lord, for “Truly You are the Son of God”.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Focus

November 15, 2017

 

Focus

 

Psalms 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers

 

Don’t you find that one of the most difficult things about maintaining and living the Christian life is focus?  We have minds that are always active and going and often, before we even realize it, they are going the wrong way.  We love the Lord.  We want to serve Him, obey Him and walk in His truth, but sometimes it seems as earnest as we are in our endeavors to live for Christ, we are equally distracted by the world, the demands and the enticements around us.  We often catch ourselves and become frustrated that our lives and hearts can become so fragmented as we find ourselves loosing focus of our full committed walk in Christ.  We find ourselves in the description that Paul gives in Romans 7:14-25, “14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!

“So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Many of us have experienced the frustration of wanting and trying so hard to live godly in Christ Jesus only to turn around and find ourselves blundering in the very areas we want to be free of.   While inwardly we died to sin and our lives are hid with Christ in God.  Outwardly we are continually warring in our members with drawings and enticements of sin and the flesh.  This is an age-old struggle and certainly one that is not original with any one of us.  The question we struggle with is how do I maintain the victory?

Our heart tends to be where our focus is.  There is a reason that the Word exhorts us to meditate on the Word day and night.  What we think upon is what we become.  If our thoughts are often worldly, lustful, contentious, covetous, discontent, rebellious or whatever way they want to take us, they will lead us in that direction if we give place to them.  Paul cries out in his frustration,

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  Then he answers his own question, “Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Outwardly we want to be ruled by the natural laws and circumstances of this World, but we live under a different law.  Romans 8:1-4 tells us, “1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  Our deliverance from our struggles with sin is not found in our efforts to fight it outwardly, but by our turning our focus and attention on the Spirit of God.  It is only as we walk in the Spirit that we overcome in the flesh.  In order to do that we must maintain a focus that is centered in the revelation of who we now are in Christ.  We so quickly forget or let go of the fact that we are not our own, we are His.  As such, we abide in Christ, in His Word, in His life, in prayer and relationship with Him, that we no longer live in our former desires, but our desire is His desire and our will is His will.  We must maintain our focus on who Christ is in us and who we are in Him.  That is Spirit life.

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